.- An all-star roster of speakers will challenge men in the state of Colorado to “become a man of God,” the theme of the annual Rocky Mountain Catholic Men’s Conference May 7 at World Arena in Colorado Springs.
The conference is cosponsored by the dioceses of Colorado Springs and Pueblo and the Archdiocese of Denver.
This year’s speakers are: Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, EWTN host and biblical scholar; Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Father Benedict Groeschel, internationally known lecturer and retreat master; Father Larry Richards, founder and president of The Reason for Our Hope Foundation and author of the recently released book “Be A Man” (Ignatius Press); and Patrick Madrid, publisher of Envoy magazine, widely published author of apologetics books and director of the Envoy Institute at Belmont Abbey College.
Now in its third year, the Rocky Mountain Catholic Men’s Conference has grown in attendance each year, with nearly 1,200 men from Colorado and surrounding states filling Pikes Peak Center in downtown Colorado Springs last year. In addition to four high-profile keynote speakers, the day will feature an opening prayer, blessing and Mass celebrated by Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan and plenty of opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation and to attend eucharistic adoration. Bishop Sheridan is scheduled to be joined by at least one other Colorado ordinary, Denver Auxiliary Bishop James Conley.
Music will be provided by liturgical musician and recording artist Santiago Fernandez, and the emcee will be Dan Cochell, a host for Colorado Springs KRDO news radio and a member of St. Joseph Parish in Colorado Springs.
The theme of “Aspire, Achieve, Become a Man of God” was chosen because it reflects a desire for men to grow in their spiritual lives and have a greater impact on their families and on the world, said Christian Meert, Colorado Springs diocesan codirector of Marriage and Family Life.
“In our ever-changing world, we men could give in to the temptation to follow the flow and forget and that we belong to God first — the unchanging Truth,” Meert said. “Men long to get closer to God with other men and listen to his message. We know what it is to be a ‘man of God,’ but still we need to be comforted in our own mission as sons, husbands, fathers, men in society and men in the church. If we don’t step in, nobody will do it for us.”
Each speaker will discuss a key aspect of the theme, according to Meert.
“All of our speakers are men of God. They know what they are talking about,” he said. “They will send a very strong message to all of us. I expect to receive what I need to step in in a stronger way after the conference.”
Phil Webb, director of the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life in Denver, said that it is important for men to hear the message that “God promises to work through (them) so that the faith will run down through the generations of their families and communities.”
“This is why it is so important that their faith be fortified. Conferences like this do just that,” he continued. “Today we need men filled with this spirit more than ever.”
In special sessions for Bishop Sheridan’s Catholic Radio Network show “Bishop Sheridan Presents” recorded in early March, both Father Richards and Madrid touched on their upcoming talks and the growing men’s conference movement in America and shared excitement at being able to speak at the conference.
“I love going to these and when I get a chance to speak at one, even better,” Madrid said. “I very much value what is accomplished for men at these conferences. From time to time, I’ve had some experiences at men’s conferences where I’ve felt that the Holy Spirit seems to be working and I was able to witness some things that were very powerful.”
Father Richards, whose talk will include a focus on one of his favorite topics — the sacrament of reconciliation, will be coming to the Rocky Mountain Catholic Men’s Conference on the heels of the recent release of “Be A Man.”
“I’m giving a talk on confession and it challenges men to look at themselves and accept God’s mercy for them,” he told Bishop Sheridan. “I do a lot of parish missions, and the second or third night is on confession. And the average of when the last time someone went to confession — at a mission — is 30 years. . . . They get on fire and say, ‘Father, I’ve been so afraid.’ I say the last thing you need is to be afraid of meeting Christ in the confessional. He loves you so much. . . . The whole reason Christ was born was just to save us.”
Pueblo Bishop Fernando Isern attended his first Rocky Mountain Catholic Men’s Conference last year. He told The Colorado Catholic Herald that his experience often brought to mind the expression “Real men love Jesus.”
“It’s a chance for men to come together to share their love of the Lord,” he said.
For tickets and other information, go to www.rmcmc.org.
(NOTE: Bishop Sheridan’s radio shows with Patrick Madrid and Father Larry Richards can be streamed at www.rmcmc.org and heard on KFEL 970 AM in Colorado Springs/Pueblo and KPIO 1570 in Denver/Loveland. A session with Father Pacwa is scheduled for recording on April 7 and should appear on the RMCMC site shortly after.)
Printed with permission from The Colorado Catholic Herald, newspaper for the Diocese of Colorado Springs.